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Weather Watching

Weather & Seasons

Kindergarten, 1st Grade

NGSS Standards covered: K-2-ETS1-3 , K-ESS3-2 , K-2-ETS1-1 , K-2-ETS1-2 , K-PS3-1 , K-ESS2-1 , K-PS3-2
This unit helps students develop the habit of becoming weather watchers who take pleasure in noticing weather patterns and predicting changes. Less
  1. Lessons
  2. Activity Prep
  3. Assessments

Mystery 1: Weather Conditions & Tracking

Be a Weather Watcher

In this Mystery, students start to notice changes in the weather. In the activity, Be a Weather Watcher, they learn the different factors involved in describing the weather, then observe and draw the weather around them.

Number of students:
Clipboard
30 clipboards
Crayons
Choose 3 different colors for the sky, clouds, and sun. Colored pencils or markers also work.
Details
90 crayons
Weather Drawing printout Print 30 copies
Prep Instructions

If the weather is nice, take your students for a walk and let them draw while they are outside. If that’s not possible, you’ll need a window that lets them observe the weather while drawing.

When students are drawing, you may need to remind them to pay attention to the four aspects of the weather that are discussed in this mystery: what you see in the sky, the temperature, the wind, and rain/snow. We’ve included icons in the corner of the drawing sheet as a reminder.

Consider having students repeat this activity when the weather changes. Drawing gives them a tool that will help them pay attention to changes in the weather that they may otherwise overlook.

Read-Along Mystery 2: Weather Conditions & Preparation

Weather Watchers

In this Read-Along Mystery, JJ and his grandfather get ready for a big storm. The Mystery includes a short exercise where students observe the weather and imagine how to prepare for a storm. You can extend the lesson with the optional activity, Weather Watchers, where students track the weather over four days.

Number of students:
Weather Window printout Print 30 copies
Prep Instructions

Think Ahead

Students will make a “Weather Window” that they will use to record the weather each day for four days.

Think about:

  • What time of day do you want students to check the weather? Ideally, it should be about the same time each day.
  • How many days do you want students to check the weather? The Weather Window has space to record weather for 4 days. If you want students to continue beyond 4 days, use the Weather Window handout without day numbers to add more days.

Continue Exploring Weather Patterns

It’s fun watching the sky and tracking the weather. But your students probably won’t see dramatic changes in this short time. To make students aware of seasonal changes, we suggest they keep a four-day weather journal EACH SEASON. In other words, have students complete a Weather Window in fall, in winter, in spring, and in summer. They should note the season on each Weather Window and keep them in their science notebooks.

When they have completed all four seasons, compare the results in a class discussion. Look for patterns or trends in the weather where you live.

Mystery 3: Seasons & Patterns

Circle of Seasons

In this Mystery, students use observations of the four classic seasons to spot patterns and thereby determine the seasons’ order. In the activity, Circle of Seasons, students make observations of the four classic seasons of the temperate zone: snowy winter, warm spring, hot summer, and cool autumn with colorful leaves. Students spot patterns and determine the order of the seasons.

Number of students:
Scissors
30 pairs
Circle of Seasons (Northern Hemisphere) printout
Alternatively, you can print our Southern Hemisphere version.
Print 1 copy
Seasons Sorting Cards printout Print 15 copies
Prep Instructions

We suggest students work in pairs. Homeschool students can work on their own.

If You Live Somewhere Without Four Seasons (Optional)

If you live somewhere that doesn't experience four seasons, we strongly recommend extending this lesson and discussing the seasonal changes where you live. You can print out a blank “Circle of Seasons” chart and fill this out with your students so that it matches the seasonal weather patterns where you live.

Keep a Weather Journal (Optional)

To make students aware of seasonal changes, we suggest they keep a weather journal for a few days in fall, winter, spring, and summer. (The Weather Window activity in Weather Watching Mystery 2 is a simple way to do this.) When students have completed all the seasons, compare the results in a class discussion. Look for patterns or trends in the weather where you live.

Read-Along Mystery 4: Weather & Daily Patterns

Wind and Weather

In this Read-Along Mystery, Kevin becomes a weather detective to figure out why he keeps losing his warm clothes. The Mystery includes a short exercise where students observe the weather and compare it to what they remember from earlier in the day. You can extend the lesson with the optional activity, Wind and Weather, in which students use poetry and observation to start noticing which way the wind is blowing, an important factor in how weather changes over time.

Prep Instructions

This activity does not require supplies.

As an optional activity, we suggest you read a short poem called "Who Has Seen the Wind?" aloud to your students. If you have access to a window or an outdoor area, we suggest having students observe the effects of any breezes (such as a flapping flag or rustling leaves). If you have space, students can act out what it's like to be a tree on a calm day, when the wind is blowing gently, and when the wind is blowing hard.

Mystery 5: Sun, Heat, & Engineering

Chill City

In this Mystery, students think about their experiences with hot and cold weather, and learn about a real city where the sun never shines in winter. In the activity, Chill City, students experiment with different types of materials (opaque, transparent, and reflective) to figure out how to reflect light. They use this to bring light and warmth to an imaginary paper town.

Number of students:
Rulers
15 rulers
Aluminum Foil
2 feet
Black Construction Paper
2 sheets
Clear Plastic Report Covers
2 covers
Colored Construction Paper
2 sheets
Dot Stickers
We prefer stickers because they are easier to distribute in a classroom. Tape also works.
Details
30 stickers
Envelopes
15 envelopes
Index Cards (3x5)
15 cards
Chill City printout Print 15 copies
Draw Chill City printout Print 30 copies
Prep Instructions

We suggest students work in pairs. Homeschool students can work on their own.

Find A Source of Light

In this activity, students fold their worksheet so that part of the paper acts as the mountains, casting a shadow over “Chill City,” the paper town on the worksheet. For this to work, you need a light source that is NOT overhead. We have used desk lamps, table lamps, or light from a window.

Chill City

If your window isn’t bright enough, a table lamp with no shade can work well as a source of “sunlight.” Put the lamp on the floor and have students sit in a circle around it. To test your light source to make sure it will work, or this activity, we recommend that you print out a copy of the Chill City worksheet and try steps 3 to 6 of the activity instructions.

Prepare Materials

Cut each report cover into two sheets at the fold. Then cut each sheet into 8 equal pieces, like this: Chill City

Do the same for the black construction paper, colored construction paper, and aluminum foil.

Assemble Envelopes

For each pair of students, assemble an envelope of supplies containing:

  • 3" x 5" card
  • 3” x 5” piece of aluminum foil
  • piece of clear plastic
  • piece of black construction paper
  • piece of colored construction paper

Read-Along Mystery 6: Sun & Heat

Where Is It Hot? Where Is It Not?

In this Read-Along Mystery, Keya needs to find a way to get from the swimming pool to the ice cream truck without burning her bare feet on the hot pavement. This Mystery includes a short exercise where students practice mapping a cool path across the hot pavement, and then act it out. You can extend the lesson with the optional activity, Where Is It Hot? Where Is It Not?, where students examine a photo and look for sunny hot spots and shady cool spots.

Prep Instructions

This activity does not require supplies.

To prepare for the Read-Along Mystery, print out a copy of "Find a cool path for Keya" for each student.

The optional activity at the end of the Read-Along Mystery requires no additional supplies.